It’s sad but true: the 2018 Milwaukee Film Festival is in its final days. Still, there’s plenty to see and enjoy before the 15-day fest wraps up on November 1 . Here’s what we’re seeing this week (complete with blurbs from Milwaukee Film):

MONDAY, OCTOBER 29

Scary Mother
5:30 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
A middle-aged mother throws herself wholly into the obsessive creative work of becoming a novelist, abandoning her family in a full-fledged pursuit of creative freedom that is equal turns darkly comedic and tensely surreal, as she finds herself increasingly lost in the space between fact and her ongoing fiction. A fully realized feature debut (with a tightly coiled lead performance from Nata Murvanidze) that highlights the danger inherent in suppressing the creative urge, Scary Mother is a dark plunge into the feverish imagination of a brilliantly troubled woman.

Milwaukee Show II
7 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
The film program so nice we have to run it twice: The Milwaukee Show II brings you even more fantastic films courtesy of our thriving local artistic community. There’s simply too much quality to be contained by a single screening—so settle in for another collection of shorts with a diversity of styles and perspectives that will leave you wanting more (Milwaukee Show III, anyone?).
ALICE’S GARDEN Jenny Plevin
EL COLOR DE LA LIBERTAD Mikal Floyd-Pruitt, Wes Tank
DISLOCATION BLUES Sky Hopinka
MARIE Katie Theel
MEET UNCLE PAUL Jessica Bursi
PRESET Parker Gayan
THE SAME PRISON BARS Joseph Garcia-Menocal
A WAKE BEFORE MOURNING Jens Rhude

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 30

Sijan
12:30 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
The inspiring story of Capt. Lance Peter Sijan, Sijan covers the unbelievable yet true circumstances that led to this Milwaukeean and venerated hero being a Medal of Honor recipient. While on a mission over Laos on Nov. 9, 1967, a 25-year-old Lance was forced to eject from his disabled aircraft into the thick jungle environs below. Miraculously surviving for 45 days without food, water, or the hope of rescue, Lance somehow evaded enemy capture. A moving reminder of the value of honor and integrity in an era when we need it most.

United Skates
4 p.m. @ Times Cinema
Once a booming industry, rollerskating rinks have dwindled throughout our country to the point of near-obsolesence. But while these last few vestiges of a bygone pastime struggle to stay open, a thriving underground community of thousands of African Americans gather in these spaces to engage in competitive skating while providing their families with a safe place to engage in this wildly kinetic tradition (the rinks even serving as the spot where performers like Queen Latifah and Dr. Dre got their start). United Skates is an electric history of an underground sensation.

Catwalk: Tales From The Cat Show Circuit
6:30 p.m. @ Fox-Bay Cinema Grill
Enter the meowth of madness aka the world of Canadian cat beauty pageants in this purrfectly entertaining documentary. Basically Best in Show but with cats (and actually real—we’re not fe-lyin’), follow the unique fursonalities that choose to engage in this competition, both judges and competitors alike. Explore the unique bond that exists between owners and their pets as these beautiful Burmese, pretty Persians, and symmetrical Siamese strut their stuff on the Catwalk.

Milwaukee Music Video Show
9:30 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
If these shorts are too loud, you’re too old: Our annual showcase of music videos made by local filmmakers runs the gamut of musical genres while showcasing the exquisite diversity allowed for by the music video format, a series of short, sonic bursts of creative excitement. Artists include Bruise Violet, Calliope, Platinum Boys, Willy Porter, and many more!
AMANDA HUFF – “GRAVETALKING” Kristin Peterson BRUISE VIOLET –
“NIGHTMARE” Robyn Ehrlich CALLIOPE – “SEA OF RED” Victor Buell IV DELMAR
THE POET – “THE BURIAL” Corbin Cox KING COURTEEN – “BUCKER BOY” Damien
Blue L. MARTIN – “SKIPPING ROCKS” Bryce O’Boyle LA ARMADA – “FIRE” Adam
Santiago, Derek Shreves MINI MELTDOWN – “NUMBER ON ME” Nick Sommer MS.
LOTUS FANKH – “KNOWLEDGE” Anthony Diaz PLATINUM BOYS – “LORD KNOWS”
Joey Turbo, Ryan Reeve VON ALEXANDER – “DEMONS” David Naida WILLY
PORTER – “THERE’S SOMETHING GROWING” Liam Porter XPOSED 4HEADS –
“SYSTEM OVERLOAD” Mark G.E.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31

Shorts: Stories We Tell
12:30 p.m. @ Avalon Theater
We all love a good story (if not, we’re sure there’s a good story behind why you don’t!). And these stories—personal, moving, and historical, about topics as varied as a pet rooster, an emotionally charged father-son reunion, the vibrant community of quiltmakers in a small southern town, and that one time Velvet Underground played at a high school—certainly qualify.
5 YEARS AFTER THE WAR (5 ANS APRÈS LA GUERRE) Samuel Albaric, Ulysse
Lefort, Martin Wiklund I LOVE YOUR FUCKING NAME Finn O’Hara MILK AND
COOKIES Patrick Mulvey, Andrew Scott-Ramsay PUMPKIN MOVIE Sophy Romvari
TRUE LOVE/TRUE CRIME ON AN AMERICAN BUS Nicholas Coles TUNGRUS Rishi
Chandna THE VELVET UNDERGROUND PLAYED AT MY HIGH SCHOOL Robert
Pietri, Tony C. Jannelli WHILE I YET LIVE Maris Curran WILD WILD WEST: A
BEAUTIFUL RANT BY MARK BRADFORD Dime Davis

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist
6:15 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
Having sparked the punk movement’s subversive looks with her then-beau Malcolm McLaren (manager of the Sex Pistols), Vivienne Westwood moved on to become one of the most iconic fashion designers of this or any other time, redefining fashion for over four decades. This documentary crackles with the rebel energy of her best looks, following her from her humble beginnings to achieving dame status in British society, all the while fighting to ensure the integrity of her brand and her legacy.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1

Minding The Gap
noon @ Oriental Theatre
Director Bing Liu returns to his Midwestern home of Rockford, IL, reconnecting with his skateboarding friends Zack and Keire, whom he’s been riding with since childhood. Combining archival footage of their exploits with interviews in the modern day, Bing creates an unforgettable portrait of toxic masculinity reverberating through generations, as these kids who once took to skateboards to outrun their trauma find themselves in danger of repeating the sins of the father, as they work hard to overcome and prove that these cycles of abuse are anything but inevitable.

Madeline’s Madeline
3 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
Emotionally troubled Madeline (Helena Howard, in an all-time great acting debut) has become integral to her experimental theater group, with her ambitious leader (Molly Parker) encouraging her to tap into her rich interior life—including a troubled relationship with her mother (Miranda July)—as grist for the collective’s art. Lines between performance and reality blur, leading to a breathtaking finale that solidifies this as “one of the boldest and most invigorating American films of the 21st century” (IndieWire). Keep your eyes peeled for MFF2017 alum (Bronx Gothic) Okwui Okpokwasili!

Back At The Staircase
7:30 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
In the midst of preparing for a celebration of charges being dropped against her youngest daughter, family matriarch Barbara suffers a violent tumble that leaves her hospitalized and comatose. So what originally was a coming together under the auspices of celebration instead becomes a tense vigil for the five relatives who connect at the family cabin: sisters Margaret and Trish (Mickey O’Hagan and Jennifer Lafleur), nephews Phillip and Ian (Stephen Plunkett and Logan Lark), and Ian’s girlfriend Jody (Leonora Pitts). Not knowing how long they’ll be forced to spend in each other’s company as they await news, we watch as the screws are slowly and expertly turned on this so-called family, bringing the tension to both unbearable and wholly believable levels in this expertly crafted, locally made chamber piece filled from top to bottom with astonishing performances.

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